ST. CLOUD, MN – The St. Cloud Rox (43-25) took game one of a best-of-three series against the Willmar Stingers (51-16) with a 4-3 final score, Sunday, August 13th. St. Cloud finished the regular season in 2nd place in the Great Plains West division with 43 wins.
The starting pitcher for St. Cloud was Connor Wietgrefe. Wietgrefe made his first playoff appearance, striking out three batters while giving up three earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched for St. Cloud. In five appearances during the regular season, Wietgrefe had a 2.89 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 18.2 innings pitched.
Anthony Mata had an incredible game, hitting two home runs and driving in all four runs for St. Cloud. Mata finished the regular season with five extra-base hits and 16 RBI over 28 games. Jackson Hauge reached base twice, with a single and a walk, scoring once. Sawyer Smith had an incredible day on both sides of the ball, reaching base twice with a run scored, while working a deceptive pickoff move to take out a runner in the 8th inning.
Mason Olson excelled out of the Rox bullpen, working 3.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Olson was the top arm out of the bullpen, working through 12.2 innings over 12 appearances, with 22 strikeouts to just 5 walks in the regular season.
The 2023 Rox MVP is Jackson Hauge. Hauge finishes the regular season with a .306 batting average and an .841 OPS. He led the Rox in hits, (74), extra-base hits (20), RBI (51), and was the individual champion in the Great Plains Home Run Derby. Piercen McElyea and Tommy Gross were the 2023 Rox Co-Pitchers of the Year. McElyea went 6-1 as a 2023 Great Plains West All-Star and a 2023 Postseason All-Star. McElyea led the Rox in innings pitched (54.0), and strikeouts (56), with a 2.83 ERA. Gross also went 6-1 as a 2023 Great Plains West All-Star and a 2023 Postseason All-Star. He had an incredible year for St. Cloud as a starter and reliever, with a 1.14 ERA over 39.1 innings pitched, with 44 strikeouts and a 1.07 WHIP.
Today’s All-Star Trophy and Awards Star of the game is Anthony Mata!
The Rox continue the playoffs on Monday, August 14th, with a 7:05 pm first pitch against the Willmar Stingers. The 2023 Rox playoffs are presented by Minnwest Bank. For a complete game & promotional schedule, ticket information and everything Rox please visit www.stcloudrox.com